Tuesday, April 5, 2011

143 JOURNEYS: Hongkong, China

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

For my third blog entry for the 143 Journeys, I write about Hongkong , the venue for my first birthday celebration with my prince! (For other 143 Journeys blog entries please click here Prince Get-Away! .)

When: September 30- October 4, 2008
Duration: Five (5) Days
Occasion: My Birthday Celebration
Sightseeing: Victoria Harbor, New Territories Sai Kung Peninsula, Sha Tin's Ma On Shan Park, and Clear Water Bay Peninsula
Stay: Panda Hotel Hongkong and Eaton Hotel Hongkong
Eating: Since we availed of the executive room packages our breakfast and dinner were at the hotel (and lunch just anywhere we found ourselves)
Shopping: Not Part of the Plan
Travel: Cebu Pacific Airlines for me (roundtrip Clark-Macau-Clark), for my prince Beijing - Hongkong - Beijing trains and Jetfoil (Macau-Hongkong) for us

My prince has quite mastered the act of sweeping me off my feet during important occasions. And my birthday on October 1, 2008 is one of those times and a day (even a week) I will never forget!

After failing to get a multiple Chinese visa (my bad! I was so busy I can't dropped by the China Embassy) in time for our anticipated Mongolia (via Beijing) Get-Away, my prince suggested to meet up in Hong Kong instead, to celebrate my birthday.

I hesitated. I've been to Hongkong a number of times from August 2005( since my then employer has an office in Wanchai, Hongkong and has a plush condo there too! ), I thought I have seen and done much in this vibrant and exciting city of the People's Republic of China! Please check MY HONGKONG'S TOP TEN !

I was wrong. My prince showed me the other side of Hongkong and let me have a whole new accommodation experience (since I always stay in the office condo which I truly appreciate of course) but curious about hotel accommodations in the city.

Hong Kong is one of two special administrative regions (SARs) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the other being Macau. The country consist of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories.

For touring, we decided to stay away from the places we have individually visited previously which were mostly in the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula . We ventured to the New Territories .

New Territories (abbreviated as NT ) comprise two geographical constituencies namely NT East (North District, Sai Kung, Sha Tin, Tai Po) and NT West (Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi Island, Tsuen Wan,Tuen Mun and Yuen Long).

Sai Kung is nicknamed the "Leisure Garden of Hong Kong" which offers visitors a wide range of enjoyable activities. The place is perfect for us who were looking for relaxation and rest while checking the waterfront scenery and wandering around this laid-back town.

For seafood lover (like me!), Hoi Pong Square is home to a dozen quality seafood restaurants where you can have unique dining experience. We didn't because my prince don't fancy seafood. We just enjoyed the Dinghy!

The Ma On Shan Park is a public park in Sha Tin District, New Territories, Hong Kong. The park occupies 5.5 hectares of land which offers a fine distant view of the natural scenery of Pat Sin Leng, Tolo Harbour and nearby peaks and valleys, distant towns and islands, and the expansive, hilly Sai Kung Peninsula. It is a nice place to enjoy a magnificent view of the sea melting into the sky. Other facilities in the Park include a maze garden, a children's playground, a jogging trail and a lot more.

The Clearwater Bay Peninsula is a hilly coastline where hills plunge to the sea and there are beaches in small bays, notably in Clearwater Bay.

Clearwater Bay is a bay on the east shore of Hong Kong which offer a relaxed lifestyle in a green and tranquil environment, great for those looking for escape from the city life. I enjoyed the panoramic scenic views on board the bus leading to the countryside and the beach.

As for accommodation while in Hongkong, my prince booked us in two different contrasting hotels (location wise) for two (2) nights each - Eaton Smart Hotel on Nathan Road and Panda Hotel Hong Kong in Tsuen Wan.

The Eaton Smart Hotel is very central with lots of restaurants nearby and the location is probably the best place for tourists to stay in Hong Kong being so close to everything and buzzing with life.

With the inviting location of the hotel and because I was sharing a birthday with no less than the People’s Republic of China (yea, October 1,2008 was the 59th birthday of PRC and a National Day in Hongkong), I thought of me-only challenge - stay inside the hotel for my BIRTHDAY (full 24 hours from September 30 12MN to October 1, 12MN)!

Well, the challenge was a bit difficult for my prince who wants to do something outside,but the hotel package offered a host of attractive inclusions – daily buffet breakfast and dinner at the famous interactive restaurant Metro Buffet & Grill, in-room broadband internet and access to the newly refurbished gymnasium and outdoor swimming pool that help! There was a lot to do at the hotel!

But the challenge meant not seeing in person the 23,000 fireworks exploding above the sky of Victorian Harbor with over 100,000 people getting-together to celebrate! Guess, I can't have everything!

All set to give me another Hong Kong hotel experience, my prince have booked at an executive room package at the 1,026-room Panda Hotel Hong Kong.

The hotel is situated in the heart of thriving Tsuen Wan, about thirty minutes away from the airport. True to its commitment of giving "personalized service and a place where you feel at home", I truly enjoyed Panda Hotel Hong Kong's Executive Floor with its exclusive use of high-speed internet access, complimentary daily papers, continental breakfast, evening cocktails services at the Executive Lounge on the 30th floor, a huge outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre (with sauna, jacussi and steam bath)and four stylish restaurants.

Hong Kong since then spells “love niche"!

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